The physical demands of a competitive marching band require its members to be in get in shape and stay in shape. During the weeks Summer vacation, marching bands practice hours in the sun teaching their freshman the fundamentals of marching. This rigor continue through the marching band season.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, sport means an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. This can encompass a variety of activities, ranging from football to baseball, soccer to lacrosse, and cheer to dance team. Few, however, consider marching band a “real” sport.
“People quickly criticize marching band as physical activity for those who aren’t physically fit to play a sport,” said senior David Navarro, a member of Beckman’s marching band. “What people don’t understand is the physical and mental stress the band must undergo in carrying heavy instruments for miles on a parade route while staying in line with each other, wearing wool uniforms and heavy hats under the blazing sun.”
On a parade-route, marching band requires its members to be able to play their memorized music at an expert-level on instruments weighing up to 40 pounds, while marching in step and maintaining perfect ranks, files and diagonals, and keeping consistent horn and hat angles. On the field, students march at a significantly faster tempo, sometimes up to 180 beats per minute, while playing instruments and constantly blowing all of their air through the instrument. It is not unlike running a mile at a constant fast pace while holding weights (instruments) at an exact angle and performing set drills.
Marguerite Nguyen, a sophomore at Beckman appreciates the music that comes from the marching band’s rehearsals after school during her lacrosse practice.
“I think marching band is definitely under-appreciated, but not to the extent that we often see in movies. The marching band brings spirit to all the sporting events, and is even motivating during practice. Based on what I’ve actually seen during practice, they work just as hard as everyone else,”
Madeline Buehlmeyer, who has been in Foothill’s marching band for two years, considers marching band a sport based on the physical activity and dedication it requires.
“I consider marching band a sport, we train just as hard as any athlete. About every Saturday we have competitions judged on physical and musical traits. we have morning practices from 7-9 and 2 days after school from 3-4:30, more than many other sports.”
Physical activity is constant along with the skill to be able to play a memorized repertoire of music and remember drills on the field. As far as competition, drum majors’ compete in their own categories (individual) while the marching band and Color Guard have their own competitions (team). Together, they help the entire band’s showmanship scores. A field show is used for the sole purpose of entertainment encompassing a particular theme and is most often performed during football halftime shows and at competition, while thousands of people go out to watch bands at parades.
Marching band gets you PE credit, in many cases a varsity letter, and directly meets the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of sport.
So, therefore, marching band clearly fits under the definition of the term “sport,” don’t you think?
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